What partners from the American Red Cross, Penn State Medical School, and managed care company Health Net Federal Services LLC learned through their collaboration to provide an educational activity that would improve the screening and referral skills of the state’s primary care and mental health professionals so that they could better meet the needs of returning military service members who might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. (Sidebar to this article: How Three Unlikely Partners Pooled Resources to Provide a CME Activity to Benefit Returning Military)
As commercial support continues to dry up, CME providers shouldn’t wait for someone else to approach them. “We may not be used to tapping into insurance companies, or foundations, or other philanthropic entities, but we need to explore all the possibilities” for educational partners, says Bonnie Bixler, MEd, assistant director, continuing education, with the Penn State College of Medicine.
- Decide what the purpose of your educational activity will be, then ask who else would be interested in the cause, suggests Joyce Grissom, MD, medical director with Health Net Federal Services LLC. And, she adds, “They may not be educators. Think creatively about those who have interests that align with the purpose of the activity but aren’t in a position to offer CME/CE credit, then reach out to them.”
- While you will need to follow all the usual planning processes necessary for an accredited CME provider, partners like the American Red Cross and Health Net are not considered commercial entities under the Accreditation Council for CME’s Standards for Commercial Support. An added plus: Working with these types of partners fits well with the ’s collaboration-related criteria providers must meet to earn .
- Point out the benefits to potential partners. For example, Health Net was able to get visibility for the Tricare benefits with providers who hadn’t previously treated any Tricare patients. Also, it was good for the managed care company to make a connection with healthcare providers in a setting that’s not adversarial. “Many people mentioned how nice it was to feel like they’re on the same side of the fence,” says Grissom.
- Another benefit is to the participants. These symposia give them a chance to network with others in their community, and to share information, ideas, and requests with those who also serve this same population.